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Ava Updates

Ava got sick last Sunday.  It has ruined her sleep, and subsequently mine.  Tuesday was the worst because she wouldn’t fall asleep for two hours.  I tried rocking her, but she would cry and cry.  She finally fell asleep while I held her in a recliner.  We fell asleep together and I woke up at 5:40 am.  I snuck downstairs and persuaded her to sleep in the bed with us.

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She’s getting better, so I’m hoping the worst is past us.  Jon and I got sick from Ava so I’m looking forward to a couple days from now when all of us aren’t oozing phlegm.

 

Happier updates in bullet form!

  • Ava is learning how to say no.  If you give her food she doesn’t like, she used to stick out her tongue and retract her tongue while pushing the food against her lip so it would ooze out of her mouth.  Now she does the same thing while shaking her head no.

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  • Ava is crawling everywhere!  She gets mad when you leave the room so she’ll crawl after you.  During a night of solo parenting I had to get her humidifier ready and Ava was so upset that I left the room, she crawled from her play mat to the bedroom crying the whole way.  Poor baby.  She’s also developing an interest in objects on the bottom of shelves and cords.  We’ve done some preliminary baby proofing but I expect we’ll need to do a lot more.

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  • Now that Ava has mastered crawling, she’s in the beginning stages of trying to pull herself up.  I’m not ready!  She is already far too mobile with her crawling.
  • Ava really likes the walker in the picture below.  She believes the phone she’s holding should never be attached to the walker.  If you hang it on the walker, she’ll immediately take it off.

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  • Ava has taken to wanting to sleep perpendicular to us in the bed, which is really uncomfortable for us because it means she’s poking her feet into one person’s belly and trying to maneuver her head into the other person’s armpit.

 

Ava reached a stage a few weeks ago where she didn’t want me to keep spoon feeding her.  She wanted to eat foods herself.  We’ve since reached a compromise where I give her food to feed herself and she lets me spoon feed her in between bites.  She enjoys feeding herself with blueberries, grapes, string cheese, and scrambled eggs.

Look at that third tooth coming in!

She had a fourth tooth break since this picture was taken.

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When someone eats a food that Ava wants to try, she looks at the food, looks into your eyes.  Looks at the food, looks into your eyes.  It cracks me up.  She’s been going crazy for these fiber muffins from Trader Joe’s that are nice for keeping me full, but not particularly tasty.  So I made pumpkin muffins from a Smitten Kitten recipe.  Delicious!  I love Smitten Kitten.  Ava liked the pumpkin muffins.  At first she smeared the muffins, all over her high-chair, but then she ate the pieces I gave her.  She also liked some blueberry muffins that I made her, but next time I need to cut the blueberries in half because she just spit them out from the muffins.

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Saturday was Naw-Ruz and we went to the Baha’i center to celebrate.  Ava had a dish of rice and lentils and she went crazy for it.  I’ve never seen her eat so much in one sitting.  And she had eaten lunch an hour beforehand!

 

I want to do everything possible to ensure that Ava likes a variety of foods.  You hear about babies that will only eat chicken fingers and pizza.  I’m hoping Ava won’t be like that.  Babies seem to narrow their food preferences around two or three.  One of the ways to encourage them to keep eating is to expose them to a variety of foods and to eat those foods in front of them.  I’m good about trying new purees (I’ve been updating the post about different kinds of purees as I keep exposing Ava to new foods).  I also try to make meals for Jon and I that Ava can also eat.  For example, Ava loves when I make fish and next week I’m going to make that rice and lentil dish.

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Baby Nursery

Ava’s nanny has been on vacation for the last three weeks.  Jon’s mother has been taking care of Ava in the interim.  I can’t even express how amazing she is for being here.

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For the first week that Jon’s mom was here, Jon and I had to study for the bar, which took all our spare time.  For the past two weekends, we’ve been able to do house projects including finishing the nursery.  The nursery is off of the bedroom.  It was used as a study by the previous owner, but it’s perfect for a nursery.  The original curtains were very flimsy and let too much light in for a napping baby.  Jon had curtains custom made from Etsy that are gorgeous.  They have blackout lining to make the room completely dark.  I got the dresser and the birds on top of the dresser from thrift stores in Salt Lake City.

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I added some art to the room that I thought Ava would like.  She loves the frame of her baby pictures.  I think she likes pictures of babies rather than recognizing herself in the pictures.  You can also see an air purifier to the right of the crib.  It makes a great white-noise machine.

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I found these animal prints from an Etsy seller in France.  I wanted something cute, but not overly gendered.  Most of the girl prints you can get in the United States are ridiculously girly with pink, glitter, and other ridiculous attributes.  The cover on the pad for the changing table was also from Etsy.  The pattern is of crows in birdcages.

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 I hope Ava remembers it fondly.

 

 

Ava is 10 Months Old

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My baby!  She’s barely a baby anymore.  She’s also really good at posing for the camera.  When I start taking pictures she smiles and poses.

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava crawls!  She moves backwards and forwards.
  • You can get Ava to crawl by placing Teddy Roosevelt or one of Teddy’s toys in front of her.  She adores him.  In the picture below, she can’t decide between holding Teddy and playing the piano.

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  • Ava can stand for a few seconds while holding onto her walker.  It makes her very nervous (and us!), though, so I’ve only put her in that position a few times.

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  • Ava has been really into having books read to her.  She initiated a routine where Jon will read to her before bed each night.  Ava has strong opinions about which books she wants read to her.  Right now she likes Goodnight MoonThe Very Hungry CaterpillarFaces, and part of Corduroy.  If you’re looking for a baby book, Faces is the best.  Ava particularly likes the pictures of a little boy in the book playing peek-a-boo.
  • I’ve started going to the library to find new books for her, but Ava likes to eat the books.  Since I don’t want her to eat library books, she gets too mad to let me read the books.  We ordered a few books from Amazon so Jon doesn’t have to read the same three books every night.
  • One annoying milestone is that Ava has learned to pinch and scratch.  I think she does it to experiment.  We’ve been telling her no and removing her hand, but my cut up chest is evidence that this is a work in progress.

Foods and Liquids

  • The better question is, what doesn’t she eat or drink?  Ava has two teeth that have fully grown in, one tooth with a few millimeters grown out, and a nub of a fourth tooth.  Once the top teeth come in more I want to give her harder things to eat.
  • I can feed Ava pieces of foods like half a blueberry, peaches, banana, avocado, roasted butternut squash, etc. and she will feed herself.  She’s a lot easier to feed if she can participate in the process.
  • Ava loves eating baby mum-mums.  They’re a soft cookie, like a Madeline.

Sleep

  • Sleep is about the same.  Ava generally goes to bed around 8:15, wakes up for her first feeding at 11:00, and wakes up between 2 and 4 at which point I bring her back into the bed.
  • Ava goes down easier than she used to.  Even if she’s awake, when I put her down in her crib she will roll onto her stomach and fall asleep without protest.

Language Skills

  •  Ava loves to say “dada.”  She’s taken to yelling “dadadada dada” while we take her around town.
  • Ava also says mama, Teddy, kitty, hi, and hello.
  • During our nightly walks, Ava likes to yell and kick in the Baby Bjorn.  Jon’s mom thinks she’s going to be a political activist because of her enthusiasm with giving speeches.

Nursing

When Ava was first born, the hospital staff took her away to clean her up and check on her.  Once that was completed, they gave Ava to me to nurse.  She latched immediately. I was so happy at how easily she nursed and drank colustrum.

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It took almost a week for my milk to come in.  I kept nursing and nursing and nursing, until I was dry and cracked.  I wasn’t sure if anything was coming out.  The first time that Ava had a little bit of milk at the corner of her mouth, I was surprised because it seemed like I was so empty.  Plus, even when you understand the concept of nursing, having actual milk come out of your body is a weird experience.

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I never produced enough milk.  I was really jealous of women who could say that their four-month old was made entirely from their body and their breast milk.  Ava was 50% made from formula.  I gave her solids as soon as possible so it could replace some of the formula she was drinking.

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When I returned to work after maternity leave, I could pump in my office, which was great.  For about six months I was insistent on pumping three times during the day to maximize the milk that I could produce.  I went from making six ounces in an eight hour day to making about eight ounces.  Ava was willing to nurse less and less.  Once Ava’s teeth came in, if I tried to nurse her while she was awake, she would bite me.

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There was one day where she refused to nurse for 14 hours.  I wonder now if some people prefer those obviously fake breasts because they look just like a woman who desperately needs to nurse.  It looked and felt exactly like I had two baseballs strapped to my chest.  After that I started taking my pumping equipment home on the weekends.  There was one frustrating day where Ava refused to nurse even though she was hungry.  I stood there pumping, giving her the newly expressed milk, and watched her greedily suck it down.

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I had to pump while I was taking the Utah bar.  I thought for sure that there would be a whole room of women pumping.  After all, it’s Utah, right?  But it was only me.  It was only slightly awkward.  The Utah bar was held at the Utah bar office, so I used a woman’s office to pump during lunch.

 

I’m hoping to continue nursing until Ava is one.  I’ve got only a little over two months to go!

Note: I’m going to keep updating this list as I prepare new foods so that it’s a comprehensive guide for the world and for me!

 

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with baby food purees.  My first goal was to introduce Ava to a variety of vegetables.  My next goal was to start introducing spices so that I could help her develop a complex pallet.  I haven’t found a lot of discussions of different types of purees, so I’m going to contribute to the world and give you my blends.  Also, I give you the most adorable picture of my family:

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Single Ingredient Purees

  • sweet potatoes
    • cinnamon was a great addition – 1 tsp for five sweet potatoes
    • cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are also great together
  • potato
    • very dry, try adding yogurt when you serve it
  • butternut squash
    • cumin
    • sage
  • banana
  • avocado
  • apple
  • pear

Multiple Ingredient Purees

  • avocado, spinach, broccoli
    • This was one of the first purees I made for Ava.
    • Combine 1-2 avocados, one bag of spinach, three broccoli florets.
    • Boil the spinach and the broccoli and puree with the avocado.
    • You can blend it until it’s completely smooth or leave it a little chunky.
    • You can substitute peas for broccoli
  • avocado, broccoli, and apple
    • Combine 1-2 avocados, three broccoli florets and two apples.
    • Boil the broccoli, peel the apples, and puree with the avocados
  • spinach and pumpkin
    • I used a bag of spinach and a can of pumpkin.
  • ginger, carrots, apples
    • Delicious and it has some texture.
    • Boil one pound of carrots and puree with four peeled apples and a tablespoon of ginger.
  • beets, carrots, and parsnips
    • Wonderful taste but it makes a huge mess.
    • I used three whole beets, a pound of carrots and three parsnips.
    • The beets give it a nice earthy flavor and contribute along with the carrots to a sweet mixture.
  • sweet potato and peas
  • sweet potato and blueberries
  • potato and corn
    • Very dry and even with salt and pepper, it’s rather tasteless.  I’m using it as a thickener with other purees.
  • blueberries, avocado, oatmeal, banana, and yogurt
    • The avocado browns and with the blueberries results in an unappealing grey mixture, but Ava loves the flavor.
  • salmon, yogurt, dill – this was a huge hit

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Yogurt Smoothies

  • Kale, Strawberry, Yogurt
    • This has been Ava’s favorite.
  • Cherry, Pomegranate, Yogurt
    • Ava also loved this one.
    • Use a few tablespoons of pomegranate.
  • Peach, Cherry, and Yogurt

 

Failures

  • Hummus with chickpeas, tahini, and garlic was too strong and too dry.  Also it gave Ava terrible breath.
  • Lentils are too thick
  • Carrots and fava beans were okay, but a little too thick
  • Zucchini is watery and doesn’t have any flavor.  It might be good to add to one of the overly thick purees, though.
  • Orange, mangoes, kiwi, and yogurt was too tangy for Ava.

 

 

Ava Crawls

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I blogged.  I took the Utah bar this week and I made a big push in the last couple weeks to study.  There’s not enough time in the day to work, study, and take care of a baby.  I think I passed the test, but keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Ava has been making great strides in her ability to move around.  She can scoot on her back, scoot on her belly, roll, and crawl backwards to get at anything she wants.  She can lift her belly off the ground and if she can push her feet up against something she has excellent crawling form.  When she crawls backwards she’s actually trying to move forwards, so when she moves farther away from the thing she’s trying to reach she gets pissed.  She’s perpetually wedging herself underneath the couch and the chairs.

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Today Ava crawled forward for a few strides.

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Ava was going through a tough period a week ago when she was cutting a tooth on the top of her gums.  Once it broke through, though, she started eating twice as much as before.  I love seeing her eat.  A few days ago we went to a sushi restaurant and Ava ate her weight in salmon, avocado, and rice.

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Ava has been getting more interested in books.  Jon reads to her every night and sometimes she will bring him a book to read.  Her favorite book by far is one of baby faces, but she’s also enjoying The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Corduroy.

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Ava is Nine Months Old

Ava continues to be wonderful and fascinating as she learns to do more things.  One of my favorite things is to get Ava to laugh hysterically.  I will carry Ava from upstairs to the dining room while Jon chases behind us.  He will growl and Ava laughs and kicks.  She recently started screaming at him while we run away.  Here are a few other tidbits:

  • Ava gets upset if you lay with her in bed when it’s not time to sleep because she thinks you’re going to try to make her sleep.
  • Ava wanted to nurse and was very upset until I figured out that’s what she wanted.  It was a very sweet moment.  Of course the following weekend she refused to nurse for 14 hours.  It was excruciating!  Next weekend I’m bringing my pumping supplies home so I’m not dependent on Ava.

 

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is making excellent strides in her motor skills.  We went to a birthday party for a one-year old baby last weekend and I think the baby inspired Ava to try more crawling.  She was crawling backwards at their house. I think the only limitation is her upper arm strength and each day she can lift up more of her body.

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  • Ava can stand supported for several minutes.  She’s almost strong enough that you can let go of your hands and she’ll stand, but not quite.

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Foods and Liquids

  • Ava continues to love everything except sour food.  She’s also not the biggest fan of bananas.  
  • The biggest new food this month was parsnip soup.  She loves it mixed in with rice cereal.
  • She’s doing well with eating things with more texture.  She’s eaten scrambled eggs and salmon with gusto.  Maybe her two teeth help.  Yes, that’s right, she now has teeth, plural!

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  • One struggle is that Ava wants to feed herself, but she can’t use utensils.  I bought different types of devices to help her with feeding herself.  This silicon top with holes in it has been the most successful.  Ava likes it best with avocado.

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Sleep

  • Once Ava started teething and was miserable at night, she began sleeping in our bed starting at around 11 pm.  We’ve continued to keep her in the bed.  About 50% of the time Ava will sleep for about four hours and the subsequent wakeups are pretty easy because I feed her and she goes back asleep.

 

Language Skills

  • I can replace the “Noises” category with “Language Skills” because Ava is using words with proper context.  Ava knows that Jon is “dada” and Teddy Roosevelt is a dog or, as she says, “dah,” which is dog without the “g.”  She also said “mommy” once when she was really upset about me ignoring her.  Yesterday she started babbling with the m sound (“mamamamama”) so I’m hoping to hear “mama” consistently very soon.

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  • My favorite conversation from last week:
    • Ava: dada
    • Jon: mama
    • Ava: dada
    • Jon: Ma-Ma
    • Ava: (as if Jon is slightly stupid) DA DA

Ava’s Attachment

I don’t want to jinx it, but Ava seems to be better!  I enjoy checking my Fitbit sleep profile to confirm my suspicions.  Look how great she did two nights ago (last night was about the same) and how awful she did on Saturday:

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Ava has reached the attachment stage where she wants me to be with her all the time.  If someone else takes her, she’s usually fine unless she sees me.  If she sees me I have to go to her and give her kisses.  Yesterday morning I forgot something at home so I tried to run in for a second and Ava started crying because I didn’t go to her first.  I ran to her and kissed her while her nanny was holding her and she grabbed at my arms and hair, trying to climb into my arms.

I understand her perspective.  She got so excited that I came back for her and when I didn’t go to her, she felt ignored.  About a week ago I made the same mistake and Ava cried while she said “mommy.”  It completely broke my heart.  She hasn’t said mommy since.

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Ava has learned how to wave when people come and go.  If she’s really excited she’ll wave and kick.  She’s such a happy baby when she’s not teething.

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Ava’s motor development is great.  She’s not crawling but she does a lot of twisting, twirling, and scooting.  She can walk her legs up with her butt in the air, almost in a downward dog pose.  She’s been trying to wedge herself underneath the couch.

Ava can also play games.  She will sit on the mat and if you roll a ball to her, she’ll roll it back.  I’ve been having so much fun with her.

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At night Ava sleeps in the bed between us with one hand on each of us to prevent us from leaving the bed.  She booby traps us!

Ouch

Excuse me, I have something to say to you.

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No, not you, baby.  Your tooth!

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That tooth is an asshole.  Ava woke up at 4:13 a.m. and was inconsolable.  I had to walk with her, rock with her, and it took hours for her to fall back asleep.  She was only comfortable nestled into my neck as I walked with her until I finally convinced her to nurse, and then she fell asleep.  Today she was unhappy the whole day despite frequent doses of Tylenol.  She didn’t nurse for 12 hours, and then she only nursed on one side.

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I tried to get Ava to nurse during the day and she bit me.  She bit me!  There are still marks on me.  Because we always play with her and pretend to be hurt when she hits us, when I yelped she laughed at me.  If this keeps up, I may have to wean Ava.

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Please tell me this is just a phase.

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